Much has been said about the various nosecones Iran uses on its missiles. In particular, the tri-conic or baby bottle nose cone of the Kavoshgar and Ghadr is one of the primary ways of distinguishing the various Shahab-3 variants. That’s why it’s somewhat surprising to me that no one has commented (at least as far as I know) on the protuberance sticking out of the Kavoshgar-1 launched in February 2008. This is particularly important with the reports that the Iranians will launch another Kavoshgar in the coming months. I just have a feeling that if we new its purpose, we would have a better understanding of what was intended by the Kavoshgar launch.
I have always assumed that this protuberance supported a camera pointed back toward the missile body; perhaps to study nosecone separation or something like that. ( The Kavosh solid-propellant “sounding rocket” carried a rocketcam for just that purpose.) However, the amount that it sticks out from the nosecone seems to indicate that it is primarily looking at something on the main missile airframe. (Note that it is shown in an oblique angle in this image, with its base attached to a point on the far side of the nosecone) It certainly looks like it is higher than is needed to observe the charge used to separate warhead from the main body. Perhaps it is looking at retrorockets that might be used to keep the main body from hitting the warhead? As always, I look forward to your thoughts, wonk-readers.